Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Texture Tuesday: White Edition

I saw Kim Klassen's White Edition post this morning and felt behind. I haven't been able to keep up with Texture Tuesdays and Beyond Layers and playing with pictures and my blog and a job. Whew!

Nevertheless, when I stopped at King Sooper's for breakfast on my way to work I saw these beautiful dishes. I don't need more dishes, but they were white (off white), so I bought one set: a mug, a shallow bowl, and a plate. Maybe one day I will purposefully have a full set of mismatched dishware. In my college days, that symbolized "making due." Now I get to re-write the definition, no longer making due, but making a choice for what I like.

Here are two versions with Werther's candies.

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How have you redefined how you thought as a child or young adult? Or what would you like to re-define?
Wish I could sit and have a chat over a cup of coffee or tea and some candies with you, my friends. I'd be happy to do it virtually in lieu of in-person.

Hope you're all enjoying your week.

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen and Texture Tuesday: phoebe and happyheart

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Sundays are made of ...

Puppy dogs, pancakes, and coffee ...

How can it get any better? Relaxing, playing with pictures, loving my Kobi, and enjoying America's favorite breakfast ... or at least, my favorite breakfast!

Was I mean or was it the best teaser treat Kobi has ever had. I put a piece of swiss cheese in his kong ball. It was too big to fall out, so he licked and licked and rolled it around and licked some more. Here, he's curled up in his "house" totally focused on the delectable taste that he couldn't quite grasp.

And I couldn't resist the close-up! His nose pressed against that ball. It's almost as though he's trying to get inside it. If only he could get that chunk of cheese out of there. Nevertheless, he is focused!!

My focus was making the breakfast of breakfasts ... or is that of champions? I loved how the hot water made luminescent bubbles in the coffee grounds. I'm finding it's the simple things I like to take pictures of these days. Simplicity. Isn't that what makes life more pleasant. Taking it slowly. Enjoying each moment.

And mmm, mmm, good ... homemade pancakes with butter, sugar, and syrup. Decadent! Very yummy. Each bite scrumptious. I guess I was focused too. lol

It's wonderful to not have pressures of to-do lists, accountability, responsibility ... if only for a day. How long has it been since you took a day to enjoy each moment? To really watch your pet? To enjoy each sip of coffee and bite of your meal?

Try it. It just might help you rejuvenate and be ready to tackle the next project.

Happy week to all of you, my friends.

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers: thursday, phoebe
I had fun making a new PS word/heart brush. ♡
Thanks to This 'n That for the neat little hand-drawn heart in my "Loving takes focus" brush.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quick update re: furnace

Thanks to all of you who sent well-wishes for a quick "furnace" recovery. Original post.

I am counting my blessings. I now have heat again. It didn't cost too much; no parts necessary. I’m actually grateful too that I now have an electric radiator so I might keep my heating costs down and for future emergencies like this. That was also much less than I expected.

All is well.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Strengths: Adaptability

This past week, I took Tom Rath's StrengthsFinder as part of assessments I was requested to do at work. I found it really interesting and quite on target. I really recommend it, especially if you're not sure what your strengths are. How can we perform to our top potential if we don't even know what our strengths are? Sometimes we think we know, but are we sure?

My top five strengths are:
  1. Adaptability
  2. Intellection
  3. Learner
  4. Communication
  5. Activator
I wasn't terribly surprised at the overall list, especially 2, 3, and 4, but I was surprised that Adaptability was number one! I had been feeling recently that I'm a bit like a camelion, changing to meet the circumstances and people I'm with. I was feeling it as a negative. This viewpoint and word gave me a different perspective. And Activator surprised me a little even though what I do know about myself is once I make a decision, I'm right there, jumping in to get started.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, I was tested this weekend. My furnace decided that it just didn't want to work any more. Hmmm, I have that feeling sometimes, but I know better. ;-> Working is what I need to do in order to have my home and my toys. But what came up? ADAPTABILITY!! So, here is a photo-collage of how I adapted while the outside temperature is 37º and the inside temp is somewhere less than 60º.

No textures; only levels, light, saturation and hue adjustments

Sleeping with the electric blanket on LO and a quilt and two extra blankets last night I was actually hot and woke up several times. Anyway, this morning I turned on the space heater in the living room by my chair; turned on the oven to warm the kitchen; draped the towel over the oven door and found that putting that warmed towel around my neck felt really good for the outside of me. The hot cream of wheat warmed my insides.

Hmmm, was Kobi as cold as I was? I know, he has his own fur coat, but I put the afghan around him and took a few pictures just for fun. He's so sweet. It doesn't matter if I'm being silly or not.

Once I was warm enough, I moved the space heater into the bathroom so when I got out of a hot steamy shower I wouldn't freeze to death. The rest of the pics are just amusing to me. Of course, my purple slippers were icing on the cake.

It wasn't long before I decided I needed a heavier duty space heater, so out I went to Walmart for that purchase, and Panera Bread for some "real" warmth and a chance to write about all this over a hot tea by their fire place.

Adaptability. Hmmm, I'd say I'm adaptable. Tomorrow I'll see how much it's going to cost me to get the furnace fixed. Who knows, maybe I'll continue to be adaptable until I can save up for the furnace expense. ;->

Now, just as a pretty addition, here is one of my early-week carnations processed with the painterly-effect that Kim invited us to try in her Beyond Layers class.

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers: evolve, sienna, finale
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: raised-effect-2

That's it for today, my friends.
Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Short and sweet ...

I went to See's Candy a couple nights ago. When I got home I started taking pictures ... well, and eating some, and it occurred to me that I was photographing the life cycle of a See's candy heart. ;-> So here it is ... my gift to you, my friends.

By the way, the life span of a See's candy heart is about a nanosecond!! At least in my house.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.
♫♬ ❤♥❤ ♬

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers: ifonly, thursday
Textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Jan 2012 7

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Loving making storyboards and sending birthday wishes

Thanks to Kim Klassen for introducing me to storyboards! I'm having a ball with this new way of putting photos together to tell a story and creating a mood.

Last night I pulled together some flowers, candy, and chocolate-covered strawberries to make a birthday "gift" for my friend Karen. She has a heart of gold; always wears a smile; and has a way of boosting my spirits when I need it most. This is my way of saying "thank you." Have a great day, dear friend!!

I modified one of Kim's templates that she provided in her wonderful class, Beyond Layers. I'm thinking this may be my new "Stroll"--another way of discovering the world, but in shorter bursts than taking a hike every weekend. I seem to have taken a detour. I have not been regular about taking my strolls for a couple of months now. Hmmm ... I mustn't forget to go out and say hello to nature.

Look for my Valentine's wish coming up soon.

Image textures thanks to Kim Klassen: phoebe, thursday, scriptededges
Background textures thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Jan 2012 7, 16

Friday, February 10, 2012

Making Happy!

I've been contemplating Kim Klassen's invitation to focus on what makes us happy in her Beyond Layers class.

I came up with this storyboard that also includes the four-word self-help concept that Kim brought to our attention: author, Patti Digh's, Four-Word Self-Help, a pretty neat concept of targeting ways to focus on things that help one cope and bring more happiness into being.

I took these images over a period of several days, maybe closer to a week. My sweet Kobi always makes me happy. I also love the cactus in the bathroom at work (!), and the candle and crystal I use as meditation tools.

Kim also talked this week about setting up a "studio." I find that I take a lot of pictures on my kitchen table. With this one, I started by choosing some books that I've enjoyed.

Some I've read cover-to-cover like Underwear by the Roadside: Litterwalk Coast-to-Coast by Glen Hanket, which is about collecting trash across America. His account is very amusing and often brought bursts of laughter.

Others are how-to books, which I have only dabbled in, but I really enjoyed With Pen in Hand: The Healing Power of Writing by Harriette Anne Klauser.  Henriette digs into ways that journaling helps us heal. I've been a long time advocate of this.

I also read Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Lessons from the Camino by Joyce Rupp before I did my 36-mile in four days mini-Camino in November 2011. This book is a wonderful account of the challenges and joys of walking the 500 kilometers Camino de Camino de Compostella in Spain.

Background texture thanks to Shadowhouse Creations: Square-120

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Story Boards for Focus

Creating story boards in Photoshop is new to me, but Kim Klassen made it easier by creating templates for her Beyond Layers participants. I chose to combine a couple exercises ... one was to choose a word and take a picture the expressed that word ... another was to create a story board or collage to tell a story.

I didn't take new pictures for this exercise, but I did create a couple different boards. The first reflects my One Little Word: Abundance.

I like seeing several of the images I created around this theme over several weeks all in one place. It seems to have more power this way showing me that time, money, work, and dreams are abundant and available to me.

Then, another word came to me: Comfort. Again, I didn't take any new pictures, but I chose images I'd taken over several months that depicted the sense of comfort for me.

There are days I just need to remind myself of what comforts me. I think this image will help me get grounded in what's really important to me and how I can take care of myself. I need to do this because it's really easy to let the pace and stress of our current world undermine my sense of peace and serenity.

Food and hot cocoa are always comforting. I think over time these things have become staples representing that there is always enough. My hiking boots are there to remind me of my accomplishment of My Camino last fall. This helps me remember that I can only take one step at a time and by doing so I can accomplish any goal. The little star is a ceramic piece that was actually use of "leftovers" from candleglobes I used to make. Hmmm, even scraps are useful. That image is also there to remind me that I find comfort in journaling and whenever I feel unsettled, that is where I must go for counsel. Then, of course, there is Kobi. He is the greatest comforter of all. Don't know what I'd do without him. He makes me laugh. He needs me. He snuggles up to me. He's always there when I need a hug ... well, I hug him!

Now, don't take me wrong. I really value my friends. All of you. Flickr friends. Long time friends that I get together with periodically. But, when friends aren't available, I need ways to take care of myself. We all do.

Oddly, this process of making story boards with photos reminds me that one of my "must haves/must do's" is to demonstrate and express my creativity. There are so many avenues. How could I ever get bored? Doing such things always helps me feel productive and gives me things to dream about.

It's really important to dream, my friends.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Snow Blast

It started last night. The snow started blowing and the forecast was a 12-15 inches by morning. I suspected it would keep me from going to work. I also realized I was out of dog food, so that meant venturing out at about midnight since I wasn't tired and I'd gotten caught up in after work activities ... from getting dinner to mainlining online to playing with Kobi.

So this is what it looked like by the time I got to King Soopers. I couldn't even get to my usual location. All I could think was I have to not get stuck in all this! I mean, there was no one I could call, or shall I say willing to call, at that hour.

above taken with my Blackberry; all others with my Nikon D5000

By this morning, I got notice to stay safe from my new boss. Well, I couldn't get out of my neighborhood, so I got to work at home. It was nice to be able to do that. Below was my view out the back window. Of course, I had to shovel a space for Kobi.

Afterward, when I took my boots off, I noticed for the first time Omni-grip printed in the toes of my boots. Funny what we notice. I've worn those boots at least a dozen times over the past three months and never noticed, but today for some reason it made me smile. And I believe anything that makes us smile is worthwhile.

About lunch time, I took a break because I saw my neighbor out with her dogs and thought Kobi would love to go out and play in the snow. He had a blast. It was so funny to see him try to navigate snow up to his shoulders!
 click the image to see larger on my Flickr page

Oh, I took good care of him afterward and gave him a nice warm bath. Now he is soft and sweet again. And he's slept most of the afternoon and evening.

It was a good day!

Textures thanks to Kim Klassen. simplicity on the boots; plastersquared and phoebe on all of the Kobi pics.